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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Koreas set up reunion video link
Two South Korean workers of Korea Telecom work near Paju, north of Seoul, Monday, July 18, 2005.
The cables will speed up inter-Korean meetings
North and South Korea have joined fibre-optic cables across their border to allow families separated for decades to take part in video reunions.

A handful of face-to-face meetings have already taken place between relatives split by the 1950s Korean War, but the cables should help others reunite.

The move is part of a range of measures agreed during cabinet-level talks between the two sides in June.

The first video link-ups will be held on 15 August between 20 families.

The cables run from Munsan in the south to Kaesong in the north.

KT Corp, a South Korean telecoms company taking part in the project, said the link would allow simultaneous connections of up to 9,600 telephone lines.

"We have laid the foundation for accelerating inter-Korean exchanges," said Kim In-chol, a North Korean postal and communications official.

Reunions between North and South Koreans, which only last a few days, are always surrounded by intense emotion, not least because many of those desperate to be reunited with their relatives are becoming increasingly frail.

Thousands die every year before getting the chance to be reunited with loved ones.

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